Yoko Kanno Does Not “Make Up” Languages
Yoko Kanno doesn’t “make up” or invent languages for the songs she composes. Her alter-ego, “Gabriela Robin“, does.
I’ve always loved Yoko Kanno’s music ever since I watched Tenkuu no Escaflowne (The Vision of Escaflowne). I may not be an expert in music, but I find hers to be so distinctive that I can usually tell if a song/score was composed by her. That was the case when I watched the crappy film, Ashura-jo no Hitomi and heard the song Perdeski Cloyn. I immediately thought that it sounded very Yoko Kanno. And it turns out that it is.
Much like Kanno’s other songs in Escaflowne and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, I had no idea what language “Perdeski Cloyn” is in. I did my usual Google search, but I couldn’t find any website that actually specified what language the song is in. So I hopped on over to YouTube, found a video with the song in it, and posted a comment, hoping that someone watching the video would be able to enlighten me.
And then someone said: “if it’s yoko kanno it’s probably a made up language.”
Actually, “Perdeski Cloyn” and some other songs with lyrics by “Gabriela Robin” may be written in made-up languages, but there are songs with music composed by Yoko Kanno actually come in a variety of real languages, including Russian, Romanian, and Italian. Most of the songs’ lyrics, however, were written by the singers who performed the songs themselves or by different lyricists; not by Kanno or Robin.
Here’s a list of some non-Japanese, non-English Yoko Kanno songs with links to lyrics and streaming mp3s/videos, where available.
From Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG
- Rise, performed by Origa – Russian/English [Lyrics]
- I Do, performed by Ilaria Graziano – Italian (with bits of English) [Lyrics]
- Dew, performed by Ilaria Graziano – Italian [Lyrics]
From Cowboy Bebop
From Wolf’s Rain
- Coração selvagem, performed by Joyce – Portuguese [Lyrics]
- Amore Amaro, performed by Franco Sansalone – Italian [Lyrics]
So there we have it. Just because you don’t recognize the language in a Yoko Kanno song doesn’t automatically mean it’s made-up, especially if the credited lyricist is someone like Ilaria Graziano. If the song’s lyrics aren’t in Japanese or English and were written by “Gabriela Robin”, however…that’s another story.
El Santos is a marketing & advertising professional by day and gamer/bookworm/tarot reader by night. She’s prone to sudden fits of fangirling over her varied interests: video games, fiction, art, folkore, anime, and tarot. She currently lives with her husband and 2 rescue cats.